Plant DetailShow Menu

Prunus avium

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
PROO-nus AH-vee-um
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Prunus avium is a deciduous tree cultivated in landscapes.  Its leaves are alternate, simple, and toothed on the margin, with 2 small glands at base of blade.  It has 1-few flowers in a rounded cluster, 5-parted and white in color.  The fruit is a fleshy drupe, yellow or red with a large pit (stone).  It has occasionally escaped from gardens and naturalized in the landscape.

Poison Part: Wilted leaves, twigs (stems), seeds

Poison Delivery Mode: Ingestion

Edibility: EDIBLE PARTS: Fruit edible raw or cooked.

Severity: HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!

Found in: Landscape as cultivated tree, rarely escaping and naturalizing

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#wildlife plant#fruit tree#edible fruits#larval host plant#edible#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-fn#pollinator garden#problem for dogs#problem for horses#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#wildlife plant#fruit tree#edible fruits#larval host plant#edible#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-fn#pollinator garden#problem for dogs#problem for horses#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Prunus
    Species:
    avium
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe to Afghanistan, Northern Africa
    Wildlife Value:
    This is a larval host plant to Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). You may see three flights from February-November in the deep south and two flights from May-September in the north.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Edibility:
    EDIBLE PARTS: Fruit edible raw or cooked.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Conical
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fleshy, yellow to red to purple-red, with a large pit (stone) and long stem.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1-few in a rounded cluster, 5-parted, 1-1.5 in. Emerge with the leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Toothed on the margin with 2 small red or green glands at the base of the blade. Petiole has a groove.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Lenticels
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Very distinct horizontal lenticels. Old wood may be grey with horizontal ridges.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! Gasping, weakness, excitement, pupil dilation, spasms, convulsions, coma, and respiratory failure. Laetrile from the seeds is a dangerous, controversial treatment for cancer. Stems, leaves, seeds contain cyanide, particularly toxic in the process of wilting: brick red mucous membranes, panting, shock.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Cyanogenic glycoside, amygdalin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Seeds
    Stems